An Unexpected Ending

An Unexpected Ending
Posted on 05/04/2013

by Ronna Cohen

Springtime in Cottonwood Heights brings more than blooming flowers. Warmer weather brings out the door-to-door solicitors. We had our first one last week.

An older woman wearing a fleece jacket with a corporate insignia rang our bell. I did not recognize the business name, though it had something to do with exterior design and repair. With clipboard in hand, she inquired about our needs but I politely sent her away. I forgot to ask one important question, however.

A few minutes later, I saw her approach my empty neighbor’s home, ring the bell, and wait. She walked around the house, taking many notes. The house was clearly empty with no cars in the garage or driveway.  To me, her behavior seemed odd.

I did what I had been trained to do at Neighborhood Watch meetings where “We See, We Hear, We Call.” I called non-emergency dispatch at 801-840-4000 and gave a full description of the solicitor, location, and my observation of her activities. The dispatcher said she would send an officer to my neighborhood.

Shortly after my call, the officer responding to my call contacted me to tell me about his encounter.

First, some background.  Door-to-door solicitation is permitted in Cottonwood Heights.  With a few exceptions such as delivery persons and people representing charitable organizations, a solicitor must have two items: 1) an approved Residential Solicitation Certificate, and 2) an ID badge issued by our police department.  These must be visibly carried at all times by the solicitor.  If two or more solicitors knock on your door together, each much have their own badges. Soliciting is permitted from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Residents may display a “No Solicitation” sign, posted on or near your main entrance. This must be honored by the solicitor and it is their responsibility to check each residence. More information about door-to-door solicitation can be found at

I did forget part of my training—I didn’t ask to see the solicitor’s badges.  However, I did remember to detail my concerns. Officer Bradley told me that he had quickly found my neighborhood walker. And, much to his surprise, she had all the required permits. He told me that the police department appreciates and wants these calls.

Each year, 10 to 15 solicitation badge requests are made to Cottonwood Heights. The majority of requests are approved, though the city will reject applications from solicitors who don’t pass a background check. Most folks going door-to-door in the city do not have the appropriate documentation. This was the first time Officer Bradley had investigated such an incident and found the person to be properly permitted. Every other time, the solicitor was in violation of our city’s rules.

The moral to the story is: get trained to notice the people in your neighborhood, remember your training, and call dispatch at 801-840-4000 whenever you have a concern.